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Sunday, March 25th, 2012
In this anticipated sequel to “Dadvice #5: How Is It Natural To Circumcise Your Son?” my goal is to answer whether or not it’s necessary to circumcise your son, and more importantly, whether it is morally wrong to do so.
Interestingly, I never would have been asking myself these questions today if it weren’t for the overwhelming number of comments I received in such a short amount of time regarding my personal view on circumcision.
Perhaps the most intriguing thing I learned through this process is that there exists a passionate, underground movement known as “Intactivists” who strongly oppose circumcision and references to Wikipedia.
I didn’t realize I was participating in a debate with them nor was I aware of their existence until I wrote about the hot topic last week.
The way I see it, I’m nothing more than the blog version of a talk show host whose job it it is to initiative engaging conversations. I simply pitch the issue to the crowd, accented in my personal angle, then I step back and see if anyone joins in the from there.
So while Wikpedia is obviously not the most professional, legitimate source for the medical aspect of circumcision, I do find it to be the best source to catch a glimpse of what main social perception of it is.
Because after all, this isn’t simply a medical issue. That’s not why people are fired up about it. Instead, it’s incredibly personal and social.
Normally, I always credit the winner of a debate to the side that refrains from getting overly emotional, shouting (ALL CAPS is the blog equivalent), speaking in a condescending tone, and attempting to prove that the opponent’s moral character is flawed.
And while many of the Intactivists did those exact things, I still think they won the debate. Yes, that’s right, Intactivists. I think you won.
By “won,” I mean that you made my reasoning of pro-circumcision seem to be about as legitimate as the illegalization of marijuana.
The way you to got to me was by showing me that circumcision is not necessary, despite it being “normal” here in the United States. I now agree that there is a lack of overwhelming evidence that circumcision prevents a plethora of health concerns.
Something my previous Dadvise post exemplified was that A) my suspicion of possible health concerns along with B) a peculiar fascination for the commandment for circumcision from God to Abraham (regarding Jews, not Christians) both seem to represent a lot of Americans and why they un-passionately (and maybe even carelessly) say yes to circumcising their sons.
But wait, there’s more…
As I’ve talked to friends and coworkers about why they chose to circumcise their sons, I got the same answer every time: ”I was circumcised and I’m fine, so I didn’t really think about it. I just had my son circumcised too.”
I asked one of my doctor friends in Houston for his take on if circumcision is necessary and I think he summed up it up perfectly: “There are medical benefits but I think it’s still more personal preference and psychosocial than medical.”
Because honestly, why else is circumcision the norm here in America?
He’s right: the psychosocial factor possibly has everything to do with it. I suspect I will be mauled in the comments section for being this honest, but here it is:
I don’t want my son to be the only one who is uncircumcised in the locker room.
And while stones are being thrown at me, here’s another thing:
Even if I ever decided that circumcision is totally pointless (not just unnecessary), if I ever had another son I would have him circumcised too because I wouldn’t either son to have to feel so confused about himself compared to his brother.
My stance: I don’t believe circumcision is necessary, nor do I believe it is morally wrong. (I can’t believe it is morally wrong because God Himself commanded it; even though only for the Hebrew people.)
That’s right; I stand by my decision to circumcise my son (16 months ago, as if I could change that now) yet I recognize that circumcision is not necessary. And I don’t feel guilty about it.
Here’s what I’m really curious about, though. I wonder if there are any readers out there who oppose circumcision but are pro-choice regarding abortion?
I would love to hear that reasoning. Welcome to the Debate Club.
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Friday, June 18th, 2010
“Sadie, Chloe, Sammy, or Max, chillin’ in a baby sack. Tristan, Evan, Lily, Zoey, or Jack…” -Candy Butchers, “Let’s Have a Baby”
After my grandmother’s dream and my wife’s co-worker’s psychic’s prediction of it being a girl, it was pretty obvious to us what the gender of our baby would be. I drove down to the appointment yesterday full of excitement, knowing that I could finally tell everyone that our intuition was correct once I would get the official confirmation.
Several anxious moments passed as the nurse showed us pictures our our baby, then finally she asked us, “Do you want to know what it is?”
Laughing, full of confidence, we told her that we were quite sure already, but yes, tell us for sure.
“You’re having a boy.”
I wish I had a YouTube clip of our reaction. “WHAT?! NO WAY! ARE YOU SERIOUS?!” Etc., etc. All exclaimed while hysterically laughing.
Not that it mattered either way to us. I just don’t think I’ve ever been more surprised in my life. I wish there was a way to type in a “laughing font” to better show my tone here. I’m so happy! We’re having a boy!
This is an "under the scrotum" shot.
Of course now it’s time to answer the other question: What are you naming him?
First name: Jack
Middle name: William
Last name: Shell
Here’s how we came up with the name:
He will go by “Jack”, which is my dad’s name.
Which is an alternate version of John, which is Hebrew (Jewish) for “God’s grace”. Which just sounds like a cool name. It’s simple, not too popular, and easy to spell and say. And Jack also happens to be the name of the lead character of the best show ever made, LOST (played by Matthew Fox, who is also part Italian.)
Jack is the size of a mango.
Plus, my wife’s name is Jill… so it’ll be “Jack and Jill”.
His middle name, William, (my wife’s dad’s name) is German and loosely translates as “protector”.
His last name, Shell, (originally spelled “Schel” at some point in American history) is German and loosely translates to “loud and noisy”.
That being said, Jack William Shell is a Jewish-German-German name which fully translates as “God’s gracious gift of loud and noisy protection.” I’m already picturing a little boy wearing a pot on top of his head, running around the house, banging a pan with a wooden spoon, being “loud and noisy”.
Most importantly, Baby Jack is healthy, thank God!
Jack, the boy. Who knew?
All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography:
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American, baby, baby blog, blog, boy, dad from day one, German, God, Hebrew, Italian, Jack, Jewish, LOST, Matthew Fox, news, parenting, popular, pregnancy, pregnat, Shell, William | Categories:
Health, People, Spirituality, Storytelling, The Dadabase
Wednesday, April 14th, 2010
What will be his or her heritage? How tall will he or she be as an adult? Boy or girl? I’m answering the tough questions today, based on educated theories.
This series isn’t a “baby blog”. Instead, it’s a documented journey of what a first time dad thinks about, starting from when I first found out and started sharing the news with everyone. Because this info is coming from a man, who processes things in black and white, it’s possible that the tone will be a mix of both practical and abstract. No goo-goo gah-gah. But maybe a little nanu-nanu.
In fraction form, here are the proportions of my coming child’s ethnicity:
1/4 Italian (my wife and I are both this)
1/8 Croatian (from my wife; Croatia is the country we know today as “Transylvania”, The Count from Sesame Street speaks with a Croatian accent)
1/8 Mexican (from me, my mom’s mom’s family moved to Buffalo from Mexico)
1/8 Norwegian (my wife’s grandfather on her dad’s side was from Norway, but was adopted by an English couple in Iowa)
1/8 German (from me, where the Shell name comes from, as well as a little bit from my wife’s Norwegian side)
1/8 Irish (my wife’s grandmother on her dad’s side came to America as an indentured servant from Ireland)
1/8 English (from me, where the pale skin and light freckles come from)
*Greek (higher up on my dad’s family tree, there were two separate Greek ancestors; family tradition tell us that a Greek ended up on the Italian side as well)
*French (in my wife’s Italian lineage, family tradition tells us that a Frenchman got thrown in the mix)
*Jewish (my Mexican grandmother swears that my late Italian grandfather was part Jewish, and based on the family’s speech patterns, uses of random Hebrew words, and quirky behavior, I’m convinced it’s true)
Virtually, on both my wife’s side and my side of the gene pool, there is no man 6 feet tall or more, nor is there a woman 5’ 8” or more. Combined with the fact that I am 5’ 9” (the average height of the American man) and my wife is 5’ 6” (two inches taller than the average height of the American woman), here are the most likely height ranges for our child once they become full grown:
Boy: between 5’ 8” and 5’ 11”
Girl: between 5’ 3” and 5’ 7”
Hair color on both sides generally ranges from medium brown to jet black, therefore it’s most likely the child will have semi-wavy, dark brown hair. Though I do have two blonde-haired, blue-eyed aunts and also a red-headed, green-eyed aunt as well.
In one of my Mexican grandma’s dreams, the baby was a girl. But based on a Vietnamese co-worker who correctly predicted the gender of my boss’s kid based on a Chinese calendar, he told me that there is a 70% change it is a boy. My wife’s mom gave birth to 10 kids, and only 3 were girls.
My instinct tells me it’s a girl. We’ll know in eight weeks if I’m wrong.
All this baby guesswork makes me think of those commercials for Puppy Surprise from 1992: “Puppy, puppy, puppy surprise… How many puppies are there inside? There could be three, or four, or five…”
All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography:
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American, baby blog, boy or girl, Chinese calendar, Croatia, Croatian, dad from day one, English, ethinicity, family tree, fatherhood, French, gender, German, goo goo gah gah, Greek, hair color, having kids, Hebrew, height, heritage, Iowa, Ireland, Irish, Italian, Jewish, journal, Mexican, Mork and Mindy, nanu nanu, Nick Shell, Norwegian, pregnancy, Puppy Surprise, Sesame Street, The Count, Transylvania, Vietnamese, Year of the Tiger | Categories:
People, The Dadabase